The new iPad: a review roundup

Apple launches its latest iPad this week. So how does the device compare to the iPad tablets of yore? 

The new iPad goes on sale on Friday.

On Friday, Apple will begin selling its latest iPad – a sleek machine with an improved 5-megapixel camera, a faster processor, and a much better display. So how does the new iPad stack up to the iPads of yore? Let's go to the scorecards. 

The design 

"Apple has been able to keep the shell of the new iPad almost exactly the same as the previous iteration," writes MG Siegler of TechCrunch. "It’s ever-so-slightly thicker (0.37 inches versus 0.34 inches), which you can only really tell when you hold the two at the same time. The new iPad also weighs slightly more than the iPad 2 (1.46 pounds versus 1.36 pounds — for the cellular versions), but the weight difference is basically indistinguishable."

The antennas

"The new iPads are the first iPads that access the 4G or fourth generation data networks being deployed nationally (but not everywhere) by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, each with variations on how wireless is delivered," writes Edward Baig of USA Today. "The test machine, a Verizon model that taps into the company's 4G LTE network, was really zippy in a week of testing in San Francisco and Austin. Downloading apps was quick, including previously purchased apps that had to be accessed through Apple's iCloud service. Web pages loaded much faster than on an older iPad running 3G."

The battery life

"Now, 4G is a notorious battery hog. It scarfs down electricity like a football team at a hot dog eating contest. Apple, however, was determined to keep the iPad’s battery life unchanged from the last model: nine to 10 hours on a charge. In my all-day nonstop-usage test, it did manage nine hours," writes David Pogue of the New York Times. However, Pogue notes, there is a price to note for that battery life: "[A] fatter, heavier battery. The new iPad is one millimeter thicker, and 1.8 ounces heavier, than the iPad 2. It’s a very slight difference, but fingers used to handling the old iPad will feel it, and that’s too bad." 

The display

"It's hard to overstate the significance of the new screen," writes Shane Richmond of the UK Telegraph. "Apple has packed four times as many pixels into the same space and the improvement has to be seen to be believed. The display is extraordinarily sharp. Text and photos look beautiful. Put the new iPad side-by-side with the iPad 2 and the differences are amazing. The iPad 2 suddenly looks so blurry. How have I never noticed that before?"

The display, part 2 

"[Apple] points out that the display has been constructed in a new way, to separate the pixels from the signal each receives," writes David Phelan of the Independent. "By putting them further apart, the company argues, it solves problems of crosstalk, image noise and other issues. Whatever, it looks amazing."

The display, part 3

"This display is outrageous. It’s stunning. It’s incredible," gushes Joshua Topolsky of the Washington Post. "Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that you can hold these beautiful images in your hands, or maybe it’s the technology that Apple is utilizing, or maybe it’s the responsiveness of the operating system. But there’s something almost otherwordly about how good this screen is. For rendered text or high-resolution images, it just looks like a glowing piece of paper."

The last word

"If you already own an iPad 2, and like it, you shouldn't feel like you have to rush out to buy the new one," writes Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. "However, for those who use their iPads as their main e-readers, and those who use it frequently while away from Wi-Fi coverage, this new model could make a big difference." 

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